I. noun 1. a long rigid piece of wood, metal, or similar material, typically used as an obstruction, fastening, or weapon. • an iron bar.
• bars on the windows.
2. an amount of food or another substance formed into a narrow block •
a bar of chocolate.
• gold bars.
3. a band of colour or light • bars of sunlight shafting through the windows.
(Brit.) the heating element of an electric fire.
5. ( the bar) — the crossbar of a goal. • Clark’s shot hit the bar.
(Brit.) a metal strip below the clasp of a medal, awarded as an additional distinction.
• he was awarded a second bar to his DSO.
7. a sandbank or shoal at the mouth of a harbour or an estuary. • the bar to the estuary of the River Eske.
[Heraldry] a charge in the form of a narrow horizontal stripe across the shield.
9. a counter in a pub, restaurant, or cafe across which drinks or refreshments are served. • standing at the bar.
10. a room in a pub, restaurant, or hotel in which alcohol is served. • the oak-panelled bar of the Lion.
• [as modifier]
11. an establishment where alcohol and sometimes other refreshments are served. • a small friendly bar open all day.
12. [with modifier] — a small shop, stall, or area in a department store that serves refreshments or provides a specified service • a sandwich bar.
13. a barrier or restriction to an action or advance • political differences are not necessarily a bar to a good relationship.
[Law] a plea suspending an action or claim in a lawsuit.
[Music] any of the short sections or measures, typically of equal time value, into which a piece of music is divided, shown on a score by vertical lines across the stave.
• the opening bars of the first hymn.
16. ( the bar) — a partition in a court room, now usually notional, beyond which most people may not pass and at which an accused person stands • the prisoner at the bar.
(Brit.) a rail marking the end of each chamber in the Houses of Parliament.
• he had to appear at the Bar of the House for a reprimand by the Speaker.
18. ( the Bar) — the profession of barrister. • his dismissal from the Singapore Bar.
(Brit.) barristers collectively.
(N. Amer.) lawyers collectively.
21. a particular court of law. II. verb — [with obj.] 1. fasten (something, especially a door or window) with a bar or bars • she bolted and barred the door.
2. prevent or prohibit (someone) from doing something or from going somewhere • journalists had been barred from covering the elections.
3. forbid someone from undertaking (an activity) • the job she loved had been barred to her.
4. exclude (something) from consideration • nothing is barred in the crime novel.
[Law] prevent or delay (an action) by objection.
6. mark (something) with bars or stripes • his face was barred with light.
III. preposition 1.
(chiefly Brit.) except for
• his kids were all gone now, bar one.
(Brit.) except the horses indicated (used when stating the odds).
IV. phrases 1. bar none with no exceptions • the greatest living American poet bar none.
2. be called (or go) to the Bar
(Brit.) be admitted as a barrister.
3. be called within the Bar
(Brit.) be appointed a Queen’s Counsel.
4. behind bars in prison. • he had already spent four months behind bars on remand.
5. lower (or raise) the bar lower (or raise) the standards which need to be met in order to qualify for something • the restaurant raised the bar for contemporary Scottish cuisine in the capital.
6. not have a bar of
‹informal› not tolerate someone or something any longer
• the referee’s not having a bar of it.
– origin Middle English: from Old French barre (noun), barrer (verb), of unknown origin.